Allow me to use the cliché “forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you”.
Forgiveness is hard enough as it is, even when apologetic not to mention when it’s unapologetic.
Sometimes saying sorry just isn’t enough but what happens when there are no sorries.
Growing up as a child is generally difficult, it gets even worse when you’re an overweight child growing up. That was my childhood.
There was a lot of bullying in school, church ( I know right), basically everywhere but worst of all -home.
My so called friends and family were the kings and queens of my experience with bullying.
I’d get comments like -“are you the youngest?” to which I’d answer yes, they’d laugh and add “then, why are you the biggest?” -from the so called friends of my mom.
Those where my favorite kind of comments believe it or not. The worse ones were the ones who were always advising me “reduce the junks you’re eating, if you continue like this you’ll look like a pregnant woman”. Not only were they insulting the present me the were giving future predictions!
At home there were the constant jokes by my siblings at which mom would join in the laugh.
“you look like a balloon”
“you look bloated”
Comparing me to fat animals, hippo was the worst.
My story isn’t about bullying so I won’t go into details.
Being an adult now I’ve got to make peace with those memories, they’re in my past but still bother my present. So I decided to have a talk with the friends I still have contact with and most importantly my family.
“As a child I was overweight which we all know. You all made comments which were supposedly funny but I wasn’t laughing because I was the joke. I cried myself to sleep several nights, starved myself in school…” That’s were I was cut off with sayings like-
“it was for your own good”
“you had to watch you eating habits”
“we had to do it the tough way”
“sorry but I’d do it again because it was for you”
No true remorse, none at all, some were even proud of it.
“it helped you to be self conscious”
“I didn’t need to be self conscious at that young age! I hurt every night because of all of you who supposedly loved me! I wanted to end my life. I kept a knife by me bedside for weeks for the day when I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, when I’d had enough, when I wanted to stop crying, to end it all! I certainly wasn’t feeling loved. Your ‘love’ would have been the reason for my death!” that’s what I would’ve said, they didn’t even give me a chance to talk they all just got up and carried on with their activities like there’s nothing more to say and I had to see reason.
That’s when I realized they’ll never be sorry, not like I needed or wanted or even at all.
Communication as always been the greatest weakness in my family, there was love and everything else but we never talk, it’s like it was banned. When your mom was a single mom and came home late from work, there wasn’t room for other emotions, you just have to be grateful for food, shelter, clothing.
How do I forgive these people who mean the world to me but would never realize how hurt I was?
There was only one way… I had to just let go, forgive them, release the hate, the anger, the hate wouldn’t do me any good. And I did it. It took time but I did, I did it for me, I’m gonna be a parent someday and I’ll learn from their mistakes. I’ve learnt to live life and treat people the way I’d want to be treated and the way I wish I was treated.
So yes, forgiving is hard and for someone like me that just wanted to hear the words I’m sorry and to see a genuine apologetic face, it was difficult but I did it and I’m doing it every day because it’s really for me not them.
There’s no how to for forgiveness, you just need to know it’s not in a day and not to keep dwelling on the painful memories and one day you’ll wake up and realize it’s in your past, not your present and certainly not your future.
-Art by Tiffany B Chanel